13th annual March for Life in Prague draws largest-ever crowds
PRAGUE, April 2, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Organizers of the annual Czech National March for Life said this year's demonstration surpassed all expectations as thousands of pro-lifers filled the streets to give witness to the need to end abortion in the Czech Republic.
According to Hnuti Pro zivot CR (Movement for Life Czech Republic), what began with a small contingent of Czech pro-lifers observing the "Day of the Unborn Child" every March 25th has grown into a large and ever-growing demonstration. This year’s march – the 13th annual - in Prague attracted almost 3,000 participants, up from about 2,000 that have attended in the past few years.
"Every day 63 children are deprived of their life in the Czech Republic," organizers of the march said in a press release announcing the successful demonstration. "The abortion law which makes this possible was passed 56 years ago. Hence the March through the centre of Prague, publicly demanding the law to be changed took place for the 13th time on March 23rd.”
The events of the March for Life began on the previous evening, Friday, March 22nd, with a prayer vigil for young people at St. Giles' Church, organized in cooperation with the Archdiocesan Youth Centre in Prague.
On Saturday, March 23rd, a pro-life Mass was celebrated at 12.30 p.m. in St. Giles' Church by the Greek Catholic bishop, Msgr. Ladislav Hučko.
Following the Mass the marchers filled the streets leading from the church to the city centre, ending at the statue of St. Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia, at the top of St. Wenceslas' Square.
Many of the participants carried white crosses as symbols of the unborn children who have been killed by abortion.
People also carried banners with the text "Abolish the abortion law" or "A Child is always a sign of hope."
Organizers noted that people from all generations took part in the march.
The march culminated with speeches by pro-life leaders including Radim Ucháč, president of the Czech Pro-Life Movement, Vít Cigánek, organizer of the "Courage for Life" march in Prague, Johannes Bucher, director of the European section of Human Life International and a representative from young people in Szczecin, Poland, who came to support the march.
The march events ended with the reading of an open letter to the prime minister of the Czech Republic, Peter Nečas (ODS), in which representatives of pro-life organizations appealed to him to take active steps to improve the situation for the protection of human life.
The letter demanded legislation to defend human life from the moment of conception and to abolish the law permitting abortion, as well as an educational campaign focused on the value and dignity of every human being from the moment of conception. It also asked for a strategy of practical help for pregnant women and the support of traditional family structure.
The 15 signatories of the letter, which includes representatives from the Committee for the Defence of Parental Rights, the Conservative Club, the Institute of Bioethical Studies, the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, and several others, also asked that Prime Minister Nečas to arrange a meeting with the pro-life leaders to discuss the demands.
"In the year 2012, more than 23,000 children were killed by abortion in the Czech Republic," the pro-life leaders stated.
"This means that every day an average of three primary school classes of children are exterminated without politicians or society as a whole raising an eyebrow. These continuing atrocities are accepted as normal. The Czech Pro-Life Movement therefore wishes to draw the attention of the Czech public and government to the need to anchor the full legislative defence of human beings from conception to natural death in our legal system."
Photographs of the 13th annual March for Life in Prague and other pro-life campaigns around the country can be viewed here.